For the first time since I was a student myself, I attended the annual Diploma Day at the Newark School of Violin Making.
I’m the chair of the RAB Trust which supports student violin makers, and in that role I have come to know many of the students that have benefited from awards from us, and several of them have come to me for a period of work experience. It was lovely to see the workshops spick and span with all the student work to look at, and to chat to the students who are about to leave and those with a year or two more to go.
The highlight of the day is the awards ceremony, when a quartet (this year the Tedesca Quartet) plays on instruments they select from the work of the final year students. This is a serious process: each student can submit two instruments, and 15 minute slots are booked with the players to try them. I sat in on a couple of these and was impressed at how seriously the players took this and how constructively they interacted with the students whose work they were trying. I’m pleased to say that all the students who were supported by the RAB Trust had their instruments picked, and very good they sounded too.
Later in the evening I presented the two major RAB awards for 2019; funding for attendance at François Perego’s varnish course in Brittany to Jahnava Gargallo (actually this was a present from me to the RAB Trust to celebrate my 60th birthday) and funding to Marios Pavlou to attend the Oberlin Violin Makers in America next year.